USDA Rural Development: Ready to assist flood victims

ACROSS MISSISSIPPI — USDA Rural Development’s Mississippi offices are preparing for quick response to any damage caused by massive floods expected later in the month, according to state director Trina George.

“We have been working with the office of Gov. Haley Barbour and with MEMA, and we have had officials in attendance at the FEMA meetings,” said George. “We are preparing for an immediate role in this matter, much like we did in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Our goal is to offer our programs and services quickly to assist those persons who might need shelter and other short-term help.”

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, USDA Rural Development placed hundreds of evacuee families in vacant units at multi-family apartment complexes financed by USDA in Mississippi, as well as at those in other states. Also, the agency worked with FEMA to identify places to locate Disaster Recovery Centers in the affected counties and cities. USDA personnel were assigned to operate and manage some recovery centers. Also, the USDA national office gave a moratorium on debt payments to all hurricane-affected borrowers for 180 days.

In addition to multi-family housing, USDA Rural Development offers a number of programs that might be useful to those individuals or communities that experience flood damage:

“We feel it is essential to get the word out now about our resources before any flood damage happens.” said George. “As we are veterans of past relief efforts, we are working to make sure that our system is streamlined and can move quickly to offer our resources if need be.”

Source: USDA Rural Development

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